Written by David Tebbutt, MicroScope 03/86 - scanned

WONDERFUL, THE SECOND TIME AROUND (column)

My Dearest Apricot,

I really don't know how to begin this letter. It's just that when I gave you up last autumn for that sophisticated, large-disked IBM clone, I really thought it was all over between us. Now I realise that big disks aren't everything and I've begun to miss some of your more modest charms.

Can you find it in your heart to forgive my brutal departure? Can you try to forget the way I dismantled you and banished you to that cold cupboard-top in my office? Can we try again?

Before rejecting me, please allow me to explain how my head was turned so easily and why I think we should try again. I know you haven't got anyone else. How could you have? Despite everything, I couldn't bring myself to sell you. Not before I was sure about my feelings anyway.

I don't want to cause you too much pain by using your rival's real name so I'll stick to "Clone" for simplicity. The truth is that I loved the sheer speed of clone's hard disk. Whenever I went on-line, I could whack the Save key and all that data would be stored away instantly. I'm sure we both recognise that your twin floppies, charming as they are do tend to creak and grind a little by comparison.

But then after the initial seduction, I found all sorts of things I didn't like about the hard disk. For example, if I was tucked away in my communications sub-directory and I wanted to edit what had come up the line, I had to go through a ridiculous performance of copying the data to my word-processing subdirectory. I actually ended up with duplicate files all over the show. We'd only been going together for about three weeks when I found I'd used nine of Clone's ten megabytes already.

I was also attracted by Clone's colour display. Boy, did that make some programs look pretty. Not more useful mind, just pretty.

Clone's keyboard was good too. It was IBM-compatible but with an extra control block in the middle. You must admit that your keyboard is a little cramped by comparison. But I'm making piffling little criticisms here. Let's look at you now, and why I'm thinking of coming back to you (If you'll have me).

For a start, you're undeniably pretty. Clone would make three of you any day. I can pick you up and carry you so easily. If I were ever foolish enough to carry Clone over the threshold, I swear I'd end up with a hernia. I love your little floppies too.

I never have liked those 5 1/4in things, you have to be so careful how you handle them, but your little shutters make everything so safe.

What else do I like about you? Well, I know that Clone had a large memory too, but with your 512K RAM card plus the 256K you were born with, you offer me more memory than I will ever need. Of course, I realise that your configuration wouldn't suit everyone but we're not too concerned about other people are we?

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to make up my mind. I really did have a wonderful time with Clone. I was able to use all sorts of exotic IBM software but, almost without exception, I don't care if I never see those programs again. With Spellbinder, Datatalk and BrainStorm tucked away in your RAM disk and SmartKey in memory, you satisfy 99 percent of my computing needs. I therefore beg you to take me back.

Now I can't promise never to see another machine again. I can think of some occasions when I'll need to. But I do promise that the relationship will be a purely business one and it will be because you, through no fault of your own, can't completely satisfy my needs.

Just so you know when this might happen, I will tell you. For a start, you know I earn part of my living from writing, so things like databases and huge spreadsheets don't really enter my life, but should this ever change then I may need to consider a menage a trois.

It was a pity that you didn't get on with that hard disk I bought you: I might never have strayed if you'd been able to talk to each other better. I may also have to go with the odd IBM or Macintosh from time to time in order to test software.

But really, apart from your bad experience with hard disks and your general incompatibility with IBM you're a cracking little machine.

Will you have me back? Please.

Much love, David.